Fashion designer Seema Sajdeh says one has to detach themselves from comments of people on the internet and she has learnt it the “hard way” over time.
Seema’s personal life started spilling in news after she and her actor husband Sohail Khan filed for a divorce last year, ending their marriage of 24 years. The couple has two children. Seema said she was earlier a “sacred” person but has since evolved, thanks to the support of her siblings, family and especially female friends. “If I didn’t have these women in my life, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
In a podcast with Shivani Pau, the fashion designer was asked about the stigma of divorce and if that is something she battled with. Seema said she has read nasty comments about her divorce, including insinuations that she “used” the name and power of Khan family for her personal goals and dumped Sohail when she no longer deemed fit.
“My father comes from a school of thought where he felt, ‘Now who will look after my daughter?’ Especially in our Indian culture, there is the stigma attached to divorce. Now we live in the day and age of social media so I have people comment like, ‘Oh she used him and that family for as long as she needed to, got where she wanted to get and now she wants to be free.’ I was like, what just happened here?! But there were also people who were nice to me, so I chose to focus on that and feel encouraged.”
When asked if there was a moment in their relationship where she felt she had to just leave, Seema said there was and added that she and Sohail had separated for quite a few years and didn’t stay together, “but the world thought we were together.”
“Why should I blame him, it suited both of us. Our son Nirvan was at that age where he didn’t want it but there came a time when I had to choose between my marriage and my son. My son was going down a path that I was very scared of. One morning I woke up and realised that either I focus all my energies on saving this marriage, or my son. That’s when I decided and chose him.”
The designer said many things were spoken about why they got divorced, including the claim of “other women” being involved but Seema said that was far from reality as the decision was strictly motivated by the wellness of their children.
“Some people say all sort of things, that I felt because of other women, that’s the most common one. But no, I made a choice. When two people are in a situation where both of them are not happy, when there is constant fighting, the fallout is always the kids. You don’t realise that in that phase of your life, time passes so quickly, kids grow up quicky, you don’t realise when you have done damaged there (on the kids). The kids are collateral damage. So, it was a conscious decision for him.
“Honestly, divorce is a piece of paper. We lived separately for quite a few years and it was fine. Nirvan was going to school, he had many conversations with me, then he went to the university and said, ‘Mumma I am ok now, you can go ahead.’ That’s when I decided that ok now is the time I can get divorced. It was just paperwork,” she added.
In the podcast, when the host said comments about her life started affecting her at some point–about not getting married, not being in a rush to have children–she realised that she can’t let thoughts of others impact her.
To which Seema said, “That’s very true. Everybody has an opinion and fair enough. But the thing is you have to be true to yourself because somewhere those opinions get into your head. At some point you have to just leave that and I have learnt it the hard way. I am still learning.”
The fashion designer said she has finally reached a place where she no longer pays attention to mean comments, but it has been a long hard journey to reach a space of not being affected.
“Even though there are lots of lovely, nice people out there and I am grateful for all of them, but even if you read that one negative comment… Especially when it comes to your kids, at least with me. I can take it when they are directed at me but when it comes to my kids, my family, it bothers me immensely. I have realised it is better to switch off or not just go there. What you can’t see, can’t hurt you,” she added.
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